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Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. On Earth, most weather phenomena occur in the lowest layer of the planet's atmosphere, the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers to day-to-day temperature, precipitation, and other atmospheric conditions, whereas climate is the term for the averaging of atmospheric conditions over longer periods of time. When used without qualification, "weather" is generally understood to mean the weather of Earth.

Weather is driven by air pressure, temperature, and moisture differences between one place and another. These differences can occur due to the Sun's angle at any particular spot, which varies with latitude. The strong temperature contrast between polar and tropical air gives rise to the largest scale atmospheric circulations: the Hadley cell, the Ferrel cell, the polar cell, and the jet stream. Weather systems in the middle latitudes, such as extratropical cyclones, are caused by instabilities of the jet streamflow. Because Earth's axis is tilted relative to its orbital plane (called the ecliptic), sunlight is incident at different angles at different times of the year. On Earth's surface, temperatures usually range ±40 °C (−40 °F to 104 °F) annually. Over thousands of years, changes in Earth's orbit can affect the amount and distribution of solar energy received by Earth, thus influencing long-term climate and global climate change.

Surface temperature differences in turn cause pressure differences. Higher altitudes are cooler than lower altitudes, as most atmospheric heating is due to contact with the Earth's surface while radiative losses to space are mostly constant. Weather forecasting is the application of science and technology to predict the state of the atmosphere for a future time and a given location. Earth's weather system is a chaotic system; as a result, small changes to one part of the system can grow to have large effects on the system as a whole. Human attempts to control the weather have occurred throughout history, and there is evidence that human activities such as agriculture and industry have modified weather patterns

Studying how the weather works on other planets has been helpful in understanding how weather works on Earth. A famous landmark in the Solar System, Jupiter's Great Red Spot, is an anticyclonic storm known to have existed for at least 300 years. However, the weather is not limited to planetary bodies. A star's corona is constantly being lost to space, creating what is essentially a very thin atmosphere throughout the Solar System. The movement of mass ejected from the Sun is known as the solar wind. (Full article...)

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Subtropical Storm Andrea in May 2007

A subtropical cyclone is a weather system that has some characteristics of a tropical and an extratropical cyclone. As early as the 1950s, meteorologists were unclear whether they should be characterized as tropical or extratropical cyclones. They were officially recognized by the National Hurricane Center in 1972. Subtropical cyclones began to receive names from the official tropical cyclone lists in the Atlantic Basin in 2002.

There are two definitions currently used for subtropical cyclones. Across the north Atlantic and southwest Indian ocean, they require central convection fairly near the center and a warming core in the mid-levels of the troposphere. Across the eastern half of the northern Pacific, they require a mid-tropospheric cyclone to cut off from the main belt of the westerlies and only a weak surface circulation. Subtropical cyclones have broad wind patterns with maximum sustained winds located farther from the center than typical tropical cyclones, and have no weather fronts linked into their center.

Since they form from initially extratropical cyclones which have colder temperatures aloft than normally found in the tropics, the sea surface temperatures required for their formation are lower than the tropical cyclone threshold by 3°C (5°F), lying around 23 °C (73 °F). This also means that subtropical cyclones are more likely to form outside the traditional bounds of the hurricane season.

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A mackerel sky over Edmonton, Alberta. Altocumulus clouds in this form indicate moisture and instability at high levels, the two main ingredients needed for precipitation. If the lower atmosphere is stable and no moist air moves in, the weather will most likely remain dry. However, moisture at lower levels combined with instability can lead to spectacular thunderstorms.

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More did you know...

...that the Flying river is the name given to the transport of water vapor from the Amazon rainforest to southern Brazil?

...that hurricane shutters are required for all homes in Florida unless impact-resistant glass is used?

...that the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research is a combined weather and ocean research institute with the cooperation of the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and the University of Hawaiʻi?

...that the SS Central America was sunk by a hurricane while carrying more than 30,000 pounds (13,600 kg) of gold, contributing to the Panic of 1857?

...that a hurricane force wind warning is issued by the United States National Weather Service for storms that are not tropical cyclones but are expected to produce hurricane-force winds (65 knots (75 mph; 120 km/h) or higher)?

...that the Automated Tropical Cyclone Forecasting System is a software package for tropical cyclone forecasting developed in 1988 that is still used today by meteorologists in various branches of the US Government?

Recent and ongoing weather

This week in weather history...

September 30

2006: Record rainfall led to the collapse of the Gusau Dam in Zamfara, Nigeria, killing 40 people.

October 1

2015: Hurricane Joaquin, one of the worst hurricanes to hit the Bahamas on record, sunk the SS El Faro, killing 33 crew aboard.

October 2

1858: A hurricane hit San Diego, California, the only known hurricane ever to strike the Pacific coast of the United States.

October 3

2010: The storm system that would eventually become Hurricane Otto began producing torrential rains in the northeastern Caribbean Sea, eventually bringing more than 20 inches (51 cm) of rain to the US and British Virgin Islands.

October 4

1869: The 1869 Saxby Gale, an Atlantic hurricane, killed more than 100 people around the Bay of Fundy.

October 5

1948: A hurricane made three landfalls in one day, passing over Havana, Cuba and Miami, Florida in the process.

October 6

1941: A major hurricane made landfall in southern Florida, killing at least 10 people in the US and Bahamas.

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Portrait of William Ferrel

William Ferrel (January 29, 1817 – September 18, 1891) was an American meteorologist who developed theories that explained the mid-latitude atmospheric circulation cell in detail, and it is after him that the Ferrel cell is named. (Full article...)

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The scope of WikiProject Weather is to have a single location for all weather-related articles on Wikipedia.

WikiProject Meteorology is a collaborative effort by dozens of Wikipedians to improve the quality of meteorology- and weather-related articles. If you would like to help, visit the project talk page, and see what needs doing.

WikiProject Severe weather is a similar project specific to articles about severe weather. Their talk page is located here.

WikiProject Tropical cyclones is a daughter project of WikiProject meteorology. The dozens of semi-active members and several full-time members focus on improving Wikipdia's coverage of tropical cyclones.

WikiProject Non-tropical storms is a collaborative project to improve articles related to winter storms, wind storms, and extratropical cyclones.

Wikipedia is a fully collaborative effort by volunteers. So if you see something you think you can improve, be bold and get to editing! We appreciate any help you can provide!

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